Mercy Iowa City set to open eastern Iowa's first rehabilitation hospital

The Mercy Iowa CIty Rehabilitation Hospital in Coralville on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. The new...
The Mercy Iowa CIty Rehabilitation Hospital in Coralville on Wednesday, May 20, 2020. The new facility is set to open to its first patients on May 28. (Aaron Scheinblum/KCRG)(KCRG)
Published: May. 20, 2020 at 3:22 PM CDT
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, a new rehabilitation hospital in Johnson County is set to open next week.

Leaders with Mercy Iowa City said the facility, located at 2801 Heartland Drive, fills a desperate need in eastern Iowa, and it is the first of its kind in the area.

Laura Phipps, the CEO of the Mercy Iowa City Rehabilitation Hospital, explained the hospital is exclusively for patients who have experienced a serious or traumatic event. Johnson County and the surrounding counties has a need of at least 74 rehabilitation beds daily to help patients recover.

With this hospital in particular, leaders and staff are focused on very serious and intensive rehabilitation, something that requires patients to be in the hospital recovering for about 10-12 days, on average.

"Whether that event be a cardiovascular accident, also known as a stroke, brain injury of any kind, trauma, major car accident, spinal cord injury, burns, amputations, we help that individual gain independence and able to go home and function as they normally would," Phipps said.

Phipps said they put that detail in many features at the hospital that test recovering patients, and lead them to practice tasks many may take for granted. Some of those features include machines and equipment to work on balance, motor skills, as well as a mock apartment to help recovering patients replicate what it would be like when they return home.

"We help them adapt to that new way of living and show them how they can continue to live independently at home, or what that support from their family or outside service providers is going to look like," Phipps said.

Sean Williams, CEO of Mercy Iowa City, echoed the importance of having a rehabilitation hospital in eastern Iowa, expressing the importance of keeping those in southeast Iowa local while they recover.

"To receive that care close to home, close to your family, is very important to the whole healing process," Williams said. "And to be able to do with a very high-touch, mission approach."

Williams said while the hospital serves as an opportunity to expand Mercy Iowa City in a way that has not been done in eastern Iowa is important, and provides a great platform to showcase their care.

, he said opening now would likely lead to further demand for the services in the area.

"We'll be looking at potential expansion I think sooner than later," Williams said.

The rehabilitation hospital will accept its first patients on May 28, and slowly increasing until they reach 40 full beds. Leaders with the project said they have room for expansion up to approximately 80 beds.